Home, sweet home.

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In a couple of weeks I’ll be witnessing the two year anniversary of my return to Ireland, after fifteen years in Amsterdam. When I parachuted back into Irish life in August 2015, I was clear in my head that this triumphant return was merely to test the waters. I had only ever intended to stay in the Netherlands for a couple of years, so the fact that my time there ballooned to decades, didn’t alter my feeling that I was a transient. A temporary resident in the land of the clog. I was aware that before I could acknowledge to myself, that perhaps I was now a permanent fixture, that I would have to attempt living in Ireland again first.
Continue reading Home, sweet home.

Top Tips: Public transport etiquette

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I mopped the flop sweat from my brow as I arrived at the office. I was flustered beyond measure. My experience on the bus was unpleasant this morning. Nothing more than usual I would guess, but with my sugars low my rational mind was on a little break. I logged on to the computer (so people would know that I was in the building) and dashed downstairs for a slice of toast, a boiled egg and a banana (as always, a creature of habit). To address the sugar crisis, I added a cheeky bowl of porridge to my tray – purely in the interest of restoring my mental equilibrium.

As I was wolfing down my bowl of gruel, I got to thinking about my daily journey to work and how it could be improved. The two obvious solutions are not currently possible – working from home (which would eliminate the need to commute) is a luxury not allowed to us plebs. Management seem to believe that this grim and hostile industrial estate is good for our souls.  The other alternative – driving my very own automobile  – might be an option one day, if I ever pass my driving test. For the moment I use the bus.

There are some simple ground rules however – not just for my journey on the bus, but for all public transport adventures – that would make for a far more pleasant trip. I am sure there are many more, but these are my personal Top Tips for Public Transport users. Continue reading Top Tips: Public transport etiquette

Music before Pride

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My friend asked me if I was interested in seeing the band ‘Fleet Foxes’ in concert.

‘Absolutely’ I replied.

I had no idea who this band was, had never knowingly heard one of their tunes, and had no idea what they looked like. But I’m a fan of live music. I also trust that my friend would only invite me to a gig where the likelihood was that I would enjoy it. I’m an easy touch that way. Live music is always a safe bet. Regardless of the genre, I tend to get caught up in the atmosphere, and come away raving about bands I had heretofore never heard of. Continue reading Music before Pride

The tents of Donegal

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At the turn of the 21st century I moved to Amsterdam and started working for an American company. It was a somewhat brave, perhaps foolhardy move. I had a job lined up. It’s just that I had never been to the Netherlands before, didn’t know a soul, couldn’t speak a word of the language. And I had nowhere to live upon arrival.

After a frenzied few weeks of house-hunting and settling in I was set. The only problem was that Christmas was looming. Being somewhat friendless at this point, I was concerned. I hadn’t booked any time off work to go to Limerick, and it appeared that I would be spending Yuletide in De Baarsjes with only a ready meal for company (my demonic cat Midnight only entered my life in the new year).

One afternoon at work pondering on my prospects I started humming ‘It’ll be lonely this Christmas’ by Elvis Presley. A colleague turned around and said ‘Will you please stop singing that, I’m alone this Christmas and that song is depressing’. My eyes lit up. My colleague was from Donegal and we got on fairly well. Seizing the moment I invited her over to my house for dinner on that fateful day.

And so began our friendship. Continue reading The tents of Donegal

Murphy’s Classic Movies: ‘Roman Holiday’ (1953)

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Some weeks ago I attended the Hepburn Season at the Lighthouse Cinema in Smithfield, and spent a sophisticated evening of film watching Katharine Hepburn, Montgomery Clift and Elizabeth Taylor in the camp classic ‘Suddenly Last Summer’ by Tennessee Williams. (Read about it HERE… Liz Taylor gave an impressively melodramatic performance in that movie – ‘We PROCURED for him Violet. We were BAIT… They DEVOURED him’. Continue reading Murphy’s Classic Movies: ‘Roman Holiday’ (1953)

Tales of the weekend

The weekend is over. Long live the weekend.

It may come as a bit of a shock to some, but when I was young, I was a fan of the Eurovision Song Contest. I have been emotionally invested in this show since 1984, when an exotic, piranha-like bird of paradise named Linda Martin, swept in like a velociraptor, and captured the nation’s heart.

The following year, Ireland was represented by a singer called Maria Christian who came in sixth position in the contest with the drippy ballad ‘Wait until the weekend comes’. This is a feeling I can strongly relate to – particularly between the time period of Sunday at bedtime and Friday afternoon.

How was my weekend anyway? Continue reading Tales of the weekend